PLANNERS FAILING TO UNDERSTAND
CHALLENGE OF CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS
Underestimating and limiting the choice of housing for older people risks creating a
‘time bomb’ of unmet demand, under occupancy of family accommodation, rising
costs of care and pressure on NHS budgets.
Speaking at the Housing for Assisted Living and Retirement Conference in London,
Bruce Moore, Chief Executive of Hanover Housing Association said, “In far too many
cases housing policies suffer from myopia by only focusing on general needs
housing. This ignores the housing needs of our ageing population and overlooks
the fact that some 20% of general needs housing is under occupied by older
“Our changing demographics will see a 50% increase in the number of people aged
over 65 in the next twenty years and an even greater increase in people aged over
85. This will result in the housing needs of this age group far outstripping the
current supply”, he added.
Mr Moore said that the keys to housing for this new generation of older people are
not the prescriptive models and patronising services of the past, but housing offers
that combine choice, quality and meet aspirations.
“It is important to bear in mind”, he said, “that this generation of the plus 55s has
grown up in a time of unprecedented consumerism, never having had it so good. If
they are not offered desirable options they will simply ‘stay put’ in their current
homes even though these may be less suitable and more expensive to heat and
maintain. Improving the housing offer to older people will free up larger houses for
younger families and create more liquidity in the market.”
Mr Moore went on to say, “Dramatic changes have been made to grant funding.
This has been followed by the government saying they will relax the requirement for
developers to provide for affordable housing. While we are seeking to deliver up to
40% affordable housing, having to compete head to head for sites with private
sector house builders puts additional pressure on us”.
“What we don’t need is for additional hurdles to be put in our way by local authority
planners who fail to understand the challenge of changing demographics and the
opportunities good quality retirement housing can provide. Too often when they
claim there is no need for more older people’s housing it is because they are
thinking of local authority outdated and unsuitable ‘sheltered housing’ rather than
the types of modern and attractive places where older people say they want to live.
Even though these are very uncertain times we still need to be far sighted in
planning for the housing and wellbeing of older people”, he concluded.
For further information please contact:
Philip Barrow, Corporate Communications Manager: 07943 810 613
Rob Ghosh, Media Relations Officer: 07714 973 059
Note to editors
Hanover is one of the UK’s leading providers of affordable housing and services for
the over 55s. Founded in 1963, it manages approximately 19,000 properties in
over 600 locations. Hanover is recognised for the high quality of design,
development and management of housing, alongside accredited customer service.
The organisation also provides a national telephone response and emergency
service to 27,000 residents handling approximately 350,000 calls a year.